Thursday, May 12, 2005


Rambling Thoughts

1) Now that Hee Seop's swinging the bat...

All of a sudden, Choi's glove is supposedly suspect. As repeatedly pointed out by Joe Morgan on ESPN last night, Choi was unable to make plays on 3 or 4 sharply hit balls while fielding only 1. Come on, IT'S ONE GAME!

Choi is surprisingly athletic for someone his size. He may never win a Gold Glove, but he's much better than Saenz or Grabowski. Let's not forget Eric "The Statue" Karros in his later years with LA. He didn't dive at sharply hit balls - he fell. Choi is better.

What will the detractors say next when Choi shows some skill with the glove? He can't bunt? He smiles too much?

2) Izturis is on fire

An obvious fact. His improvement is astonishing.

04: 20.2% line drive %, .317 BA for balls in play
05: 28.9% line drive %, .358 BABIP (from Hardball Times)

That line drive rate is by far highest on the team. Only Miguel Cabrera has a higher line drive rate amongst NL starters. This is both amazing and worrisome - can he continue to maintain that pace? On the other hand, given the high line drive rate, his BABIP is actually low.

Izturis' pitches per plate appearance is also way up, although that has not yet translated into a higher walk rate. I should look into this a bit more...

3) Broadcasters should give stats, not interpret them

During last Saturday's day game, Steiner explained that Cincinnati was a losing team because "their hitters strike out too much, and their pitchers don't get enough strikeouts." Apparently Steiner is unaware that Cincinnati's pitchers never face their own hitters.

Speaking of broadcasters,

4) I don't like the 2 man TV broadcast

Perhaps I'm so used to the single voice format that I am simply not used to the 2 man chatter. I don't mind it on the radio, where I find a second voice actually helpful in describing the action. On TV, I prefer less chatter because i can see what is happening on the field. That's part of what makes Scully so great. He knows when to talk, and he knows when to "shut up", as he puts it.

Some thoughts on your thoughts:

1. Choi has become the poster child for statheads and the antichrist for heart-and-soul types. True Morgan is less than objective, but neither am I. I root for him because I want to see the other side eat crow.

2. While most where projecting a return to the norm for Izzy, I called for continued improvement. Check out the old posts on Dodger Logs; in fact, Ross will soon owe me beer and nachos for his lack of faith in Izzy.

3. & 4. I actually think Steiner is doing a pretty good job -- much better than I expected. But no two, three, or even a gagle of normal broadcasters can replace Vinny.
steiner's been alright, except for the snafu i mentioned. i find the 2 other newbies annoying.

i don't know if ross is old enough to buy you beer. he sounds young.
My own comments a day late, FWIW.

I agree with 1 & 2 and hope they continue. I, too, am rooting for Choi largely because I want the media to eat significant quantities of crow.

I like Steiner a great deal. He might've misspoke in the example you cited but he clearly meant that

a) the Cincy batters are striking out too much and

b) the Cincy pitchers aren't striking out enough opposing batters.

I cannot imagine anyone enjoying a broadcast with Monday/Downing as the team, though I like the Steiner/Monday team very much. And I am also shocked, flat shocked, at how strong Lyons has been this season.
I think you're right to note the high line drive rate-low BABIP nugget in Izturis' stats. Relatedly, perhaps it's also worth noting the new PrOPS system developed by JC Bradbury in the Hardball Times. According to this metric, which includes line drives per batted ball and other variables, Izturis is indeed underperforming -- though only by 3.6%. So while it's a potential source of concern, maybe it isn't a big one.
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